Maduro Pens Powerful Response to UN High Commissioner

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gestures after receiving the presidential sash during the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony in Caracas.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gestures after receiving the presidential sash during the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony in Caracas. | Photo: Reuters

“By injuring the truth of what happens in Venezuela, your Office has placed itself on the side of those who harm our people.”

July 12 (teleSUR) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro penned on July 11th a powerful response to U.N. High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, who accused the government of the Bolivarian Republic of killing nearly 7,000 people.

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President Maduro slammed these allegations from Bachelet, pointing out that these unfounded accusations were harmful to Venezuela and its people. “The report presented by your Office to the Human Rights Council on 5 July has come to my notice. Its content is deeply harmful to the dignity of the Venezuelan people and the truth of the human rights situation in Venezuela. Unfortunately, it is quite clear that you DID NOT LISTEN TO VENEZUELA.”

The Venezuelan leader said Bachelet’s report was not ‘new’, as these allegations were made by her predecesser, who sourced false statements and manipulated data to accuse the government of human rights violations. 

Bachelet’s allegations took a chapter from the U.S.’ rhetoric against Venezuela, which constantly accuses the government of the Bolivarian Republic of being a ‘dictatorship’ with unfair elections. 

“Your report, unfortunately, aligns itself with the media and political narrative imposed from Washington, that symbolically attack Venezuela by repeating the script of the existence of an alleged dictatorial government and an alleged humanitarian crisis in order to justify an intervention in favor of those who hanker to disappear the Project of Simon Bolivar and purloin our immense natural resources,” President Maduro wrote, pointing out, “can a political project legitimized 23 times at the ballot box in the last twenty years be called a dictatorship?”

President Maduro highlighted the fact that the use of “humanitarian crisis” by the United Nations was misleading, as the Western-led blockade on the country has prevented the Bolivarian Republic from billions of dollars worth of food and medicine. 

“Can it be called a “humanitarian crisis” when the United States has deprived Venezuela of more than 30 billion dollars of its oil assets abroad, has blocked and confiscated more than 7 billion dollars allocated to the purchase of food and medicine, it has forbidden servicing the Venezuelan debt and persecutes any company that trades with Venezuela? Can we call this a humanitarian crisis, or should we talk of the illegal, illegitimate and criminal application of unilateral coercive measures aimed to collapse our country smothering it economically as it was done with the Chile of Allende between 1970 and 1973?”

This inhuman blockade, led by the United States, has purposely and unlawfully seized Venezuela’s assets in order to force the government into submission. 

Bachelet’s report has left out these details and instead, she has mostly resorted to using data and interviews from people living outside of Venezuela. 

“You personally met with a group of relatives of the victims of the political violence inflicted by the opposition. People that were burnt alive just because of the color of their skin or because they seemed to be pro-Government. However, you have not included the slightest reference to this encounter in the report, neither to the dramatic demand for justice made by the relatives to which you committed yourself,” President Maduro stated. 

The Venezuelan President concluded his letter by declaring that the Bolivarian Republic will continue to stand victorious in the face of these false accusations. ​​​​​​​”Know that Venezuela will continue standing victoriously that no false report, nor attack regardless of its coarseness, will tamper with our firm determination of continuing to be a free and sovereign people committed to the defense of its legitimate rights.”

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Congressman Denounces Impact of Helms-Burton Law on Cuban Society

Havana, Jul 12 (Prensa Latina) The impact that the Helms-Burton law and the activation of its Title III generates in Cuba is of great magnitude because it is diversified to all branches of the economy, said legislator Julio Cesar Garcia on Friday.

In the opinion of the MP, the extraterritoriality of this law has influenced that ‘there are not a few countries and companies that have decided not to continue establishing relations after years of work with our nation’.

In statements to Prensa Latina, Garcia explained that, regarding the issue of energy carriers, Helms-Burton has an impact on society as a whole by preventing fuel carriers from reaching the island.

As a consequence of this, the transport service and other vital services in the country have been affected, complemented the parliamentarian who participates in meetings prior to the third regular session of the 9th Legislature of the National Assembly of People’s Power, scheduled for this weekend at the Convention Center.

Garcia affirmed that the Helms-Burton law, and above all, the activation of its Title III, has once again tested the intelligence and capacity of Cubans.

In force since 1996, the regulations codify the blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for almost six decades.

With its four titles, it seeks to coke the country through direct meddling in its internal affairs.

The Helms-Burton, whose section III was activated last May 2, also has a marked extraterritorial character, by seeking to hinder foreign investment in the island.

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Venezuela: U.N. Report Omits Social Programs, U.S. Sanctions

Vicepresident of Planning for Venezuela Ricardo Menendez
Vicepresident of Planning for Venezuela Ricardo Menendez | Photo: @teleSURtv

Venezuela planning chief: the Bachelet report fails to mention the gov’t spends 75% of funds on social programs, meanwhile U.S. sanctions have cost the nation US$116 billion.

July 12 (teleSUR) Venezuela’s Vice President of Planning Ricardo Menendez says the government rejects the report presented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet because it omits several major successes by the Nicolas Maduro administration and fails to mention the simultaneous economic war being thrust upon the country by the United States administration.

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During an interview with Es Noticia, Menendez said the report issued this week by the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Ohchr) does not include critical information that Venezuelan authorities gave to Bachelet when she visited in late June.

The vice president of planning asked why the report, released last week, made no mention of the state investing 75 percent of its funds in social programs. He questioned why the Local Committees for Supply and Production (CLAP) food distribution program, which benefits 120 million people per year, was hardly mentioned in the final U.N. document.

Menendez said that while these statistics were left out of the document, so too was the economic war imposed on the country at the hands of the U.S. Trump administration. 

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#ENVIVO | Vicepresidente de Planificación de #Venezuela @rmenendezp, En plena campaña electoral de presidente Chávez se produjo el primer arranque del dólar, cuando supieron que el presidente iba a fallecer comenzaron a ocultar productos para crear caos http://bit.ly/teleSUR 

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#ENVIVO | Vicepresidente de Planificación de #Venezuela @rmenendezp, El presidente de la República @NicolasMaduro nos ha permitido estar en paz, desde el fallecimiento del comandante Chávez los enemigos de Venezuela han intentado crear guerra http://bit.ly/teleSUR 146:07 PM – Jul 12, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacy

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VP of Planning of #Venezuela @rmenendezp, The president of the Republic @NicolasMaduro  it has allowed us to be at peace, since the death of Commander Chávez the enemies of Venezuela have tried to create war  (link: http://bit.ly/teleSUR) 

The Maduro government has been able to maintain paying its 4.6 million pension recipients, despite Trump’s sanctions that created a loss of US$116 billion for Venezuela, that’s 11 times more the country’s international reserve, asserted the official during the Friday night interview. 

Since 2017, the Trump administration has imposed 150 sanctions on individuals and entities of Venezuela that several U.N. officials and renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs say are categorically illegal under U.N. and OAS charters. The sanctions have resulted in the direct deaths of over 40,000 citizens who haven’t been able to receive their medicines or proper health care, according to an April report co-authored by Sachs. 

During the interview, Menendez said said he personally presented documents to the Bachelet team showing the product of the economic war however none of this showed up in the Ohchr report. 

The planning expert told Es Noticias “we demand that they respect us,” asserting that “Venezuela can not be blackmailed to kneel” before any other nation or entity, referring to not only the U.S., but the Lima Group and Organization of American States (OAS) officials who continue to call for a military overthrow of democratically-elected Maduro.

Last week, international human rights law expert and former consultant to the Ohchr, Alfred de Zayas, said Bachelet’s report is “unfortunately unbalanced and does not draw conclusions that can help the suffering Venezuelan people.” Zayas called her conclusions, “fundamentally flawed and disappointing,” saying more attention should have been drawn to the crippling economic sanctions.

Menendez said the country’s resources can’t be stolen and demanded that the U.N. do something to help lift the U.S.-led sanctions from the oil-rich South American country. 

Likewise, the testimonies from victims of violence on part of the right-wing in 2017 and 2014 were not included in Bachelet’s report that were presented to her. 

“We presented the information and took the opportunity to denounce our situation as victims” Menendez told Es Noticia.

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We will Overcome Consequences of the Blockade, Diaz-Canel Asserted

Havana, July 12 ( Prensa Latina ) President of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, has affirmed in Havana Friday that his country will overcome the consequences of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for almost six decades.

In a message on Twitter, the President quoted the article ‘Cuba is more than sun and beach’ of the Juventud Rebelde newspaper, related to the development of the tourism sector despite the impact of the unilateral measure of the Washington government.

‘We are an international symbol of hope, we provide social values that are shared with the arriving visitor, and we will overcome the consequences of the blockade #SomosCuba #SomosContinuity,’ wrote the head of state in his account @DiazCanelB.

On Thursday, during one of the working meetings of the National Assembly of People’s Power (Parliament) prior to the third ordinary session of its 9th Legislature, the MPs received detailed information on the evolution of the sector in recent years.

At the meeting, Diaz-Canel called for a proper linkage with national production to achieve a more efficient tourism to be the driving force of the Cuban economy, as this sector is one of the most income earning to the country.

For his part, the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Marrero, explained that the measures against the Caribbean nation applied by the administration of President Donald Trump, had a negative impact on this industry in Cuba.

Marrero said that the U.S. bans impacted on cruise operations, which resulted in no such vessel currently operating in the country.

In that sense, it revealed a plan of 56 new actions to make trade policy more flexible and to encourage the flow of visitors, including Cuban residents, to counteract the complex situation to which tourism on the island is subjected.

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US Blockade Causes Million Losses to Cuba Tourism

Havana, Jul 11 (Prensa Latina) The economic, financial and commercial blockade of the United States has caused losses of 38.72 billion dollars to the Cuban tourism industry, Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero said Thursday.

This was stated in the report he presented before the MPs to the National Assembly of People’s Power and in the presence of President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who actively participates in the Third Ordinary Period of the 9th Legislature of the Cuban Parliament.

Marrero indicated that U.S. sanctions and prohibitions limit the access of tourists to Cuba, a prohibited destination for U.S. citizens and cruise ships by decision of President Donald Trump’s administration.

Tourism activity decreased in June after the measures announced by Washington on the 5th of that month, for which cruise ships, sailboats and private U.S. airplanes no longer arrive in Cuba, he said.

He also mentioned the existence of sustained campaigns aimed at discrediting Cuban destiny. He also noted that Washington eliminated ‘people-to-people’ educational trips, which affects more than 500,000 US citizens for the rest of the year.

The report presented to the legislators adds that the activation of Title III of the Helms-Burton Act threatens business in the sector.

Especially after lawsuits were filed in U.S. courts affecting six companies, three Cuban and three foreign.

The Minister also said the tourism industry competes in complex conditions because it must purchase hotel products and supplies in Europe and Asia, and it has no access to major international advertising companies.

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Norway: ‘Spirit of Cooperation’ at Venezuela Talks in Barbadost

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's First Lady Cilia Flores and Venezuela's Vice President Delcy Rodriguez
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s First Lady Cilia Flores and Venezuela’s Vice President Delcy Rodriguez | Photo: Reuters

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, present at the two-day Barbados discussions advocates for “peace” and “dialogue (and) national sovereignty.”

July 11 (teleSUR) Norway’s foreign minister says that talks between the Venezuelan government and the main opposition continue in an “efficient manner” as the parties wrap up the latest round of dialogues taking place in Barbados. 

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Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said in a Thursday statement: “I reiterate my recognition of the parties’ efforts and their spirit of cooperation.” She added that “representatives of the main political actors in Venezuela are continuing the negotiations that were initiated in Oslo” and that all involved are working “to reach an agreed-upon solution within the framework of the Constitution.”

Delegates from the Nicolas Maduro administration were in Barbados from July 8 until 10 with international mediators to continue Venezuela’s agreement talks that began nearly two months ago in Oslo, Norway.  

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, who participated in the two-day Barbados discussions, advocated through her Twitter account for “peace” and “dialogue” within the country. The state official said that President Maduro is working “untiringly … for peace and calm in Venezuela to guarantee national sovereignty.” She promoted “democratic and constitutional spaces for a peaceful coexistence vía dialogue, adding this was the only way toward “mutual respect” for all.

Meanwhile, the nation’s defense ministers, Vladimir Padrino, celebrated the closing of this round of negotiations between political parties in Barbados by saying that “dialogue is the way.” 

“Dialogue is the way, it is the way that obliges us into a civilized world, the path of peace,” tweeted the minister.

In a statement Tuesday, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley said her government was happy and ready to host the Venezuelan dialogue led by Norway. 

“The government of Barbados is happy to be able to facilitate the location for the discussions between the two sides in Venezuela, facilitated by the Government of Norway,” Mottley said in a statement.

The talks come after the self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido, has attempted several U.S.-backed coups since late January. 

Minister Søreide ended her statement by thanking “the Government of Barbados for their hospitality.”

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Global Trade Unionists Call for Ending Blockade against Cuba

Foto: José Raúl Rodriguez
Santa Clara, Cuba, Jul 11 (Prensa Latina) The elimination of the US blockade against Cuba and the application of Title III of Helms-Burton Act called the final declaration of the International Trade Union Colloquium on sugar and drinks sector that concluded in Santa Clara.

Trade union leaders from Belgium, El Salvador, Honduras, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Cuba attended the event, held since Monday in this capital of the Cuban province of Villa Clara.

Workers’ leaders expressed in their speeches the need for a common struggle against neoliberalism that impacts the rights of global workers.

They detailed in those speeches how the neoliberal system affects the unions worldwide, which are under pressure and break international agreements.

The text also recognized that the Cuban State protects its workers from the harmful practices of the multinational corporations operating in the country.

The document called for building international trade union alliances throughout the production chain, which become barriers against the harmful effects of multinational corporations and carry out action against all kinds of discrimination.

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Foreign Students Graduate in Cuban Universities

Santa Clara, Cuba, July 12 (Prensa Latina) About 90 foreign students have graduated in Santa Clara in different specialties of Higher Education at the Serafin Ruiz de Zarate Ruiz University of Medical Sciences, and Marta Abreu, from Villa Clara.

Graduates, from 12 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

A large group of graduates in the specialty of general comprehensive medicine are already in South Africa where they completed their final stage of practical studies and are integrated into the medical services of that country.

From 1967 to date, about 2,000 students of Higher Education have been graduated in Villa Clara, most from countries of the so-called Third World, in the careers of Engineering, Social Communication, Accounting, Finance and Medicine, Yuri Cuellar Rayas, head of the Section for Attention to Foreign Students, told Prensa Latina.

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Nicaraguan Jaumy Leiva, a graduate of the specialty of medicine, assured that a person of scarce resources like her, only a country like Cuba opens her arms to her to study to become a doctor.

For his part, Angolan graduate Eduardo Alexander Swatres, stated that he had lived wonderful times. ‘We have learned a lot, shared with the Cubans and thanks to the solidarity of the Government of Cuba I have graduated as a Civil Engineer,’ he added.

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Nicaraguan Lawmakers Rebuff Double Standard in Foreign Relations

Managua, Jul 10 (Prensa Latina) Nicaraguan Congressman Wilfredo Navarro today criticized the United States government and its Latin American allies for applying double standards in international relations, a policy that directly attacks Nicaragua.

The fact that the Nicaraguan opposition, with Washington’s support, is determined to request the early general elections, scheduled for November 2021, was questioned by Navarro, who was invited on Wednesday to the program Detalles del Momento, hosted by Moises Absalon Pastora, on the State Channel (Seis).

Why don’t they ask Macri (Argentine President Mauricio) for early elections, who is facing monstrous demonstrations and there is repression against the people, the parliamentarian asked himself when he resumed considerations expressed the day before by Carlos Fonseca Teran, deputy secretary of International Relations of the Sandinista Front.

They have the cynicism to go to the OAS to demand what they don’t do in their own country be done in other nations, so the reality is the aggression against the progressive governments of the region: Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Navarro concluded his speech on the subject.

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French Bank Faces Lawsuit in US due to Law against Cuba

Washington, Jul 11 ( Prensa Latina) The French bank Societe Generale S.A. (SocGen) is currently facing a lawsuit in the United States under Title III of the Helms-Burton Act against Cuba, triggered as part of Washington’s growing hostility toward the country.

According to the legal news site Law360, heirs of a bank nationalized by the Cuban government in 1960, after the triumph of the Revolution on January 1, 1959, said Wednesday in a federal court in Miami, Florida, that the French entity ignored the US blockade against Cuba. The complaint, filed by 14 grandchildren of Carlos and Pura Nuñez, who once owned Banco Nuñez, alleges that SocGen violated Title III by allegedly ‘trafficking’ in nationalized property when it did business with the National Bank of Cuba (BNC), the website said.

On the other hand, Reuters news agency reported that the claimants demand from the French bank a payment of approximately 792 million dollars, with the argument that it generated hundreds of millions of dollars in fees to lend money and process transactions for the BNC from 2000 to 2010.

The Helms-Burton, approved by the federal Congress in 1996, codifies the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by Washington almost 60 years ago against Cuba.

Despite its entry into force at the time, all administrations prior to Donald Trump’s suspended the application of Title III of the regulations, which allows U.S. nationals to sue those who ‘traffic’ in ‘U.S. property’ in Cuba.

Numerous voices inside and outside the United States have condemned this action to tighten the economic blockade, which is fundamentally aimed at depriving the Caribbean country of foreign investment.

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